Memorable Manitobans: Joseph N. H. “Joe” Du (1933-2017)
Born at Laokay, Vietnam in 1933, the youngest of eleven children of Tao Sung Yu and Phuong Ying Lee, he attended medical school in Taiwan then, after graduation in 1961, moved to Canada to receive his accreditation, working first at Regina, Saskatchewan and later at Winnipeg. He worked as a pediatrician until retirement in 2002, including service in northern communities.
In the 1984 federal election, he ran as a Progressive Conservative in the riding of Winnipeg North Centre but was defeated by NDP candidate Cyril Keeper. An active member of the Chinese-Canadian community, in the 1980s he worked with Philip Lee to revitalize the Chinatown area of Winnipeg. He arranged a donation of pandas for a six-month exhibition at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in 1989. He chaired the 50th anniversary celebration for the repealing of the Chinese Exclusive Act in 1947. He was instrumental in having a sculpture by Leo Mol, commemorating Chinese workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway, unveiled in 1998. An ardent advocate of multiculturalism, he is active in refugee and immigrant assistance agencies such as the Manitoba Joint Refugee Coordinating Committee and the Canadian Foundation for Refugees. He was a director of St. Boniface General Hospital, a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba, a director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, President and director of the International Centre, National Co-Chair of the Chinese Canadian Congress, and director of many Chinese organizations in Winnipeg, most notably for over 30 years as President of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural Centre.
In recognition of his community service, he has received the City of Winnipeg Community Service Award, Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He was inducted into the Order of Canada (1985), Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1995), and Order of Manitoba (2003).
“Seeking votes,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 August 1984, page 15.
Page revised: 23 March 2017
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